First National Congress
6-7 December 2004, Cebu City, Philippines

Using Microsoft™ Excel in Introductory Physics
by Darwin Palima
Physics Unit, Philippine Science High School - Diliman

Calculators have long been utilized in physics classes to determine the numerical solutions of problems. Presumably, the time saved in not having to do calculations manually can be devoted to better understand the concepts instead. More recently, graphing calculators have also been used in physics and math classrooms as tools for readily visualizing relevant parts of the lessons and for solving problems.

This session demonstrates the use of another technology-Microsoft™ Excel-in the Physics 3 course at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) - Diliman. While this program is used in physics laboratories for plotting experimental data, we will highlight its use as a tool for enhancing the presentation of lessons. The graphing capability of the program is well suited for visualization in field calculations and other parts of the course.

Physics classes at PSHS - Diliman are held at the computer laboratory at the CST unit once a week. Students are expected to work on specified problems/tests during these meetings. The teacher monitors the students' progress. Guide questions are given to help students synthesize the results obtained. A short report is required in some cases. Reference to the results is also made during regular classes.